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Tatyova, A Ballad of Vodka and Merfolk

Commander / EDH*


Over the last few months, I've been toying with a casual, mid-power level UG Merfolk EDH deck with pretty poor results. My issues are as follows.

  1. I haven't found a general that works for me. Kumena and Tishana both have their advantages, but frankly, Tishana has a crazy CMC and both need a lot of additional Merfolk on the board to be worthwhile.

  2. Merfolk is typically a fairly low CMC deck for EDH. For the most part, my games with Merfolk have consisted of flying out of the gate, then running out of gas right around the same time as my opponents have started to stabilize. Not optimal, obviously.

I'm hoping that Tatyova, the (Russian) legendary Merfolk from Dominaria, will solve both problems. First, this general interacts with land, something that's free to play every turn and is in more abundance in the typical EDH deck than creatures or any other card type. Second, the card draw I'll get from playing lands should prevent burnout, and the additional life gained should help me withstand a big swing or two from my opponents. Added bonus, not only can Tatyova hold her liquor, but she also plays well with the Explore mechanic from the Ixalan block.

My general strategy seems to be this.

  1. Ramp - this part of the strategy is supported by about 20-25% of my non-land cards. This seems like a lot, but since Tatyova turns lands into draw, it's beneficial for me to ramp up before and after she's on the battlefield. So that said, by turn 3 or 4, I should be able to play a card that gives me more land than my opponents (Cultivate, Asuza, Oracle, Exploration, Tempt with Discovery, Sol Ring, Signet, Thought Vessel). On turns when I can't cast these cards, I can start building my army, cast a set up card like Archmage Ascension, or cast spells/creatures with the Explore mechanic to stack my hand. One note, if I'm flooded during this phase (which is not a bad thing), I'm playing basics and duals, trying to save fetches for after my general has hit the battlefield.

  2. Cast Tatyova. I'm hoping to do this by turn 5, maybe earlier if things are going really well. In the best case scenario, both Tatyova and Alhammarret's Archive are both on the board by turn 5. Yikes!

  3. Stay ahead of the game. Play and crack my fetches, keep casting more mana ramp cards, and build an army of small creatures that feed off of the lords and +1/+1 counters, all while keeping my hand full and life total high. I have good utility at my disposal - counter spells, removal, enchantments, evasion, and a few tutors. I can recur the lands with the Crucible. If my opponent board wipes, Cauldron of Souls and properly stacked ETB effects can bring creatures back even stronger (especially with a Door of Destinies in play). The same goes for Praetor's Council, with the added max hand size effect and ability to bring back lands and cards I've had to discard if I've drawn too much.

  4. Drag my opponents out to sea and finish the job. Cards like Deepchannel Mentor and Herald of the Secret Streams make my creatures unblockable. Eldrazi Monument gives them flying. Cyclonic Rift because, well, why not?

Unfortunately, I can't test this deck out for a couple more weeks. We'll see how it works. Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions for cards to add/subtract.

One last note, this is a mid-level powered deck made for casual play. No infinite combos, no 'cheap' stuff.

---Update 04/13/18---

I made a few substitutions:

Jungleborn Pioneer --> Metallic Mimic Same CMC, no brainer really

Boundless Realms --> Traverse the Outlands - Traverse has a lower CMC, the effect is similar, maybe better in some cases

Renegade Map --> Burgeoning - I hate taking out the map but this is an obvious switch. Burgeoning is just too good to pass up.

Deeproot Waters --> Krosan Grip - I struggled with this a bit, but I concluded that having a bunch of extra tokens running around is less helpful than having better removal.

Tempt with Discovery --> Beast Within - Realistically, I don't think my opponents will take the bait often with Tempt, which makes it a 4 CMC single land tutor. Again, substituting for better removal lower CMC.


Updates Add


Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.05
Tokens 3/3 Ape, 3/3 Beast
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